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September/ October 1999 - Volume 2 - Issue 7

Introduction to Our New Series: Surviving the Back To School Blues

By Holly Martinac

Yes, the kids are back in school! However, the once thought of "long" summer may begin to feel "short" as we get further into the long school year.

After dropping all the kids off at the bus stop or at the school and before you settle down to read the morning paper, have pen and paper ready to take notes as the phone calls roll in from the school. Before 11:30 AM expect your first grader's teacher will call because your child soiled herself and "you failed" to send a change of clothes. The fourth grader's teacher will call not only because his homework "has disappeared" for the umteenth time, but he is not paying attention during class, or is constantly being distracted or is distracting the rest of the class. And then your eighth grader's principal calls wanting a parent/teacher/principal conference because his bullying has gone too far and he is on the verge of being expelled . . . and it is only the first month of school!

Parents and foster parents can tell you how they go to great lengths to structure and re-structure routines and schedules for parent-teacher-principal-child negotiation and de-escalation of any multitude of problem situations. But why do kids struggle day in and day out with school?

Our feature, "Surviving the Back to School Blues" will share a three part series of articles focused on some of the social and academic concerns we face with our kids. We will also share tools, resources and helpful advice for not only better understanding some of the "whys" for our kids behaviors, but also some "how's" to advocate for their survival.

Part I: School Bullies (Featured in this issue)

Bullying is a common and potentially damaging form of violence among children. Not only does it harm both it's intended victims and the perpetrators, it also may affect the climate of schools and, indirectly, the ability of all students to learn. Who are the bullies and how can we help them and our children to survive?

Part II: Identifying and Working with Disabilities (Future issue)

Often times some of the struggles our kids suffer from in school is that of unidentified learning disabilities or emotional disturbances that seriously affect their ability to participate in the classroom. Understanding more about learning styles, learning disabilities and how to develop good study habits can improve your child's self esteem and improve their attitude toward school.

Part III: Advocating for Our Children (Future issue)

Parents have a vital role to play in the education of their children. State and Federal legislation gives the right of parents to have a voice and to participate in the educational decision-making process. Become knowledgeable and find out how to show your concern by becoming actively involved in your child's education and the IEP process.

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